A Gift of Joy

The disappointment flooded over me, as I heard God calling me to stay put for the day: rest was the name of the game for me. My yearly physical had left my body depleted, and the pain in my hands as they stiffened and tightened into their familiar “paddle” shape, only served to emphasize my own shame.

Like a petulant child, I found myself kicking the ground of my soul. Why did it have to go this way?  My other friends were allowed to meet together! Why wasn’t I?

Have you ever heard that childish voice screaming for attention in the background of your grown-up mind? I thought I had conquered it by now. I thought I wasn’t susceptible to the shame that the enemy likes to heap there. I thought I was stronger. But when a long-hoped-for gathering had to be cancelled, I slipped on the slope of pride and shame.

So soon after God had showed me the beauty of HIS abundance in my lack, here I was, falling into the old ways of thinking again. Ah, but what a precious Savior we have. He is not disappointed at our disappointment. No, He comes alongside, and speaks HIS own Words to lift up our eyes.

You may recall the post recently, where I shared about the months-long sojourn in the 17th chapter of John recently. The stay there hasn’t ended yet, and I found my eyes settling on another portion of Jesus’ prayer that seemed so incongruous to my own day:

 

“I am coming to You now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of My joy within them.” John 17:13 NIV

 

I am in a place of pain! Can’t You see that, Lord? Why would You add to the weight of my missing the joy of gathering with friends?  But then I looked closer at the words, and I saw what I had been missing. Jesus was facing the cross, and He was praying for us to have the JOY that was within Him. That joy was not dependent on being pain-free. No, He was facing a depth of pain that I could never imagine, the deepest pain that this world of sin could have created.  Yet, in that very place, He was filled with the Joy of being One with His Father, of bringing many sons to Glory, of joining us with Himself.

And He was praying that for me.

The convictions poured forth as I offered my heart back to Him. And His Joy found a resting place in a soul that had been so petulant only moments before. As the day wore on, and I thought about my friends gathering together, I prayed for them to have laughter in their gathering. And as I was praying, I remembered the package that my husband had brought inside the house earlier that morning. I had set it in the kitchen and tried to ignore it when I saw the return address of the drug company that manufactures my current medicine.  I hadn’t been in the mood to think about paperwork and side effect listings.

But I felt the Lord nudging me to open the box. It wasn’t easy, with hands that were pulled into paddle shapes. I thought of how funny it would look if someone saw me who didn’t know my situation. But I finally managed to pry open the box, and there lay a beautiful art journal and tote bag, by an artist who has RA. It was her gift to encourage other RA warriors not to give up.

 

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You can find more of her artwork, as well as information about the classes she teaches here at: JesseRobertson.com

Into a day where I felt the sting of so many disappointments, Jesus had planned to bring His Joy deeper into my heart. Pen and ink drawings, and gifts of calligraphy used to be a passion of mine. My dear friend, Gayl S.Wright, has encouraged me over the last few years with her beautiful collage style art work, but that also had been stilled for me over these last few months of intense flare-ups.  When I won an online giveaway for a Bible Journaling class from Tiffany at Hope and Joy in Christ, hope was stirred within me that God would open a way for me to be able to share in artwork again.  When the discouragement seemed to brush away those hopes, Jesus sent the gift at just the right time.

 

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Later that night when the pain began subsiding, and the joints began unlocking, the stirring in my heart found expression in a simple collage cut and pasted together in a journal gifted from a pharmaceutical conglomerate.  God surely moves in mysterious ways.

 

Are you locked in a pain flare of disappointment? Perhaps it’s your heart and not your hands. Perhaps it’s the heaviness of a joyful season that seems to mock your own despair. Jesus longs to bring Himself into your dreary day. I don’t know what it might be, but I know that He has a gift for you that will meet your need right where you are.

 

 

 

Would you pray with me?

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for the JOY that You have brought to us. Would You forgive us for looking down towards our own failures and weaknesses and counting them as our standing and position? Thank You that YOUR joy and hope are gifts that Your Holy Spirit brings when You come to dwell within us. While we are being planted more deeply in You, would You lift our eyes to see the beauty of who we are in YOU? Thank You for coming to us in that midnight birth so many centuries ago. And thank You for sending Your Spirit to bring us Your joy, as You rose back to Your Father, Our Father.

In Your Name we pray,

Amen.

 

I am linking with:

#LMMLinkup

#Teaandword

#Tellhisstory

 

48 thoughts on “A Gift of Joy

    1. Dear Wendi,
      I thought you might understand that feeling of being left out; these days with chronic illness send us down paths we wouldn’t have chosen on our own. But I am so thankful we are never really left out because Jesus stays right here with us! Praying Blessings for you today Dear Sister!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen! I love the way you expressed that, “He gives to us from HIS Joy!” His joy will never come to an end, or be used up. What a blessed thought to know that He is giving FROM His own storehouse, Himself. Blessings to you this Christmas Season, Ruth!

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  1. Wow. Another incredible lesson from your amazing journey of deep faith. Your words here: Jesus was facing the cross, and He was praying for us to have the JOY that was within Him. That joy was not dependent on being pain-free. No, He was facing a depth of pain that I could never imagine, the deepest pain that this world of sin could have created. Yet, in that very place, He was filled with the Joy of being One with His Father, of bringing many sons to Glory, of joining us with Himself.
    Though my heart hurt for you in every word of this post, may we focus on the joy of Jesus, as greater than any other. And the gifts from that day? So beautiful, Bettie. I’m praying even now for your pain to decrease and your body to respond to the medications. God bless you!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dear Melissa,
      Thank you so much for your prayers and beautiful words of encouragement. The Lord is helping me so much, and I rejoice over drop of relief He brings! And yes, I want to focus on that joy of Jesus, greater than any other, especially as Christmas approaches. Our Lord brings His joy right into the middle of the suffering. He is so faithful to us! Blessings to you also!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, our God is so good! Thank you for stopping by here today, and for offering your heart of prayer! I am so glad that He joins us all together in Him! Blessings to you!

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  2. Jesus is our most important friend and loves us more than any person. I don’t know why it is hard for us to rest, I suppose it is because if we do and really surrender to Him, we will walk in His fullness and joy, and the enemy has to keep us distracted, but will never win.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it really is hard for most of us to rest! And I think you are so right, that the enemy wants to distract and keep us away from the precious place of surrendered fullness and joy. But Praise God! Jesus does have the victory in our lives. Blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry for your pain and disappointment, Bettie. It’s so hard when our limitations keep us from things our hearts long to do, isn’t it? What a wonder that God showed you His joy. It’s so incomprehensible that while Jesus was suffering infinitely more than all of the world combined, He did it so willingly, because He loves us so much and wants us to know His joy. And then He gives you yet another gift in the journal. 🙂 May God soothe your pain with His joy and peace! Love and hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Trudy,
      Oh, I thought that you would understand how deeply those limitations can affect us sometimes! Just this past week, I was remembering your post from 2 years on God’s Hands holding us, and it brought me such a comfort again. When we realize that His hands hold us, we pause, and that’s when He shows us how deep the heart of joy runs in Him because of His love. It is so incomprehensible what He went through for us, so willingly. I am so grateful that He has brought a measure of relief this day, and I am praying that I will continue to trust Him and look for His joy, whatever tomorrow may bring. Blessings, love, and hugs to you Dear Friend! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your prayers and kind words, Laurie! I am truly grateful that the Lord has joined us together in Him, lifting our prayers to His heart. Blessings and Prayers for you too!

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  4. Bettie your story moves mr through pain, frustration, the whine of my past what about me to the holy connection that transpires in prayer. So many times have I been humbled and overwhelmed with His grace, freely given and supposed to be freely received. We are rewarded for confessing and seeking and sharing our faith. He is using your story in such mighty ways, dear Bettie! Pray and write on! Looking forward to the podcast when that time comes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Julie,
      I am so very grateful for your prayers and support. You have been such an encouragement to me through these past several months! I had no idea that it was going to get so much harder, instead of easier! But in those moments, that is when He teaches us and humbles us with His overwhelming grace, isn’t it? Oh, may I continue to seek and to share what He brings to me along this pathway. I am so grateful that we can lift each other to HIM. Blessings, love, and hugs to you! P.S. Your support and prayers for the podcast have been so deeply appreciated also! Thank you Dear Friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Bettie, you move me through your pain to see the Savior, His Words, His life, His joy, as He brings us into His presence. We walk together, all in Him, learning, encouraging, praying together and for each other. Praying that you will experience more of His presence and joy that others without pain will never know. Blessings for a new week with HIm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Frances,
      Your words here have moved me so deeply, as I think about the joining that our Lord has brought: “We walk together, all in Him, learning, encouraging, praying together and for each other.” Oh Amen. Yes, Lord, help us to see how interconnected we are within Your Body. May I listen more closely for His Words that He would speak, even in the midst of the painful days. Blessings to you also, Dear Sister!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a wonderful gift! Yes, God’s timing is perfect and He takes care of us. That’s hard to see when you are in pain but that does not mean it’s not true! Thanks for sharing your story on how Jesus takes care of you Bettie. He is using your story too, to inspire and bless others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lynn, for your sweet encouragement! It is so hard some days to look above and under the pain, but when I do I can see that His timing is perfect, and that YES He is taking care of me even there. I am so grateful that we can share and encourage each other along the way. May you be blessed this Christmas Season Dear Sister!

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    1. Oh Dear Cheryl, your heartfelt encouragement is so refreshing to me also! It is such a blessing to know that we are not walking this journey alone, even when it might feel that way. Jesus is always with us, and He brings His Spirit to draw and comfort and heal us. Blessings and love to you.

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    1. Oh, I am so thankful that the Lord brought you encouragement here–it is such a blessing to know that our struggles are not hidden from HIS sight. And He will bring the connections and the help that we need. He continues to teach me those lessons, and to draw me in to see His goodness too. Always! Blessings to you!

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    1. Dear Wendy, I am so sorry for your increased pain this week! It is never easy, no matter where we place ourselves on the pain scale–I have such a hard time with those when the Doctor asks me to give that number! 🙂 But what precious thoughts the Lord is giving you, as you serve little guy. Truly He receives every bit offered to Him, doesn’t He? Amazing how much He loves our gifts to Him also! Thank you for sharing your insights here too, Wendy. You are in my prayers tonight. Blessings to you also.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Bettie, I’m so sorry for the unrelenting pain you are still experiencing and the dashed hopes that sent your soul sinking. I can relate to those things. And yet we are never left alone in our misery and pain. God comes closer still to hold His child and offer the soul solace comfort only He can bring. I love how you were surprised and blessed by an unexpected gift! Such an encouragement to help lift you out of a dark place. I keep praying for a turning of the tides, for pain to ease and rest to be sweet. May you keep on sensing the nearness of God’s presence and pouring out such beauty from your pain filled hands. Love and gentle hugs to you, dear friend! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Joy,
      I am so very thankful for your understanding heart my friend. You are a true gift from the Lord. He sends encouragement at just the right moment, and so often you and your words have been just what I needed to hear. I love this: “God comes closer still to hold His child and offer the soul solace comfort only He can bring.” He is so good to bring that comfort to us. I am grateful for all of the prayers, and for a few nights of good sleep. Every drop is so precious, and such a sweet touch of His beauty in the midst of hard days. I pray that He is bringing the same comfort to you, that you so freely offer to others. Blessings, love, and hugs to you. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so very much for your thoughts and prayers Jema! I know you understand how pain can get in the way sometimes! But what a gift when God brings just enough relief that we are able to move again. I don’t ever want to take it for granted! He is so good to help us! Blessings to you this week!

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  8. Your willingness to share your heart so openly feeds my soul. You are real and vulnerable and in those places I see pieces of my self that are only made better when I am open too. God’s work in and through you is just beginning. I see it in on this page and in how beautifully you encourage others. Thank you for being you and sharing yourself with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mary,
      Your words are such a beautiful encouragement. The Lord continues to ask me to be willing to be broken open before Him, so that HIS strength can be displayed in the middle of my weaknesses. And He takes the surrenders deeper. I am so thankful that you have shared from your own journey through #surrender this past year, while He has walked me through surrenders to find Him #sufficient right there. His weaving is so precious over His pathways. I am so grateful that He has let me cross paths with you!

      Liked by 1 person

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